Lake Amatitlan | Guatexplorer

Once upon a time this lake, stretching on some 15.2 square kilometers (5.9 sq mi), was a place to be if you wanted to belong to the Guatemalan higher classes. It was the place to buy or construct a villa, to enjoy in swimming, fishing or simply to row your boat. That was a place to take the person you love, maybe even your wife!

Glory days (and the tourism started here as far as the year 1850) are nowadays far from Lake Atitlan, but still, there is that charm and splendor that still lives on its shores if you disregard that water is heavily polluted. Wastewaters that flow primarily in Villalobos River have killed the lake. There are nice houses, narrow villages and splendid viewpoints around the lake.

You can approach the lake in at least three ways. Traditional is a Pacific road that leaves the city along the Aguilar Batres avenue and continues to Villa Nueva. Then you must turn to the town of Amatitlan. Due to the usual heavy traffic, maybe you would prefer another way: pass on the Avenida Hincapie side of the Airport La Aurora, go straight and down to Boca del Monte and continue there to the town of Villa Canales. There you can use the road that goes around the lake. Here you can see the lovely sugar cane fields.

But, maybe the best way is to pass Boca del Monte, but then carefully look for a right turn onto the private highway called VAS. This scenic road will bring you to Pacific Highway just above Amatitlan town, precisely to the turn where you can visit Parque Naciones Unidas, and later get down for a fish lunch on the lake. Don't be afraid, fish is not from the lake.

Besides Naciones Unidas, a park where there are some very concrete and very fake Mayan pyramids, you can visit the Spa of Santa Teresita. In fact, there are several places that offer swimming pools, good food and an afternoon or morning of leisure. If you are into exploring, traveling around the lake will bring you under the Serbian/Russian Orthodox Church, an impressive white building that overlooks the lake. Among minor attractions are numerous stores where they sell traditional sweets and souvenirs.

Lake Amatitlan is a really nice lake, very scenic and large enough to give you an impression of visiting nature. If you combine it with a rest by the pool and gastronomy, you will get a very decent and cheap excursion, a lovely day out of Guatemalan metropolitan nightmare.

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